by Jill Oakes and Rick Riewe, 224 pages
The Canadian Artic combines a landscape of severe beauty with one of the harshest winter climates in the world, but Aboriginal people have learned to live in harmony with their environment. Inuit women use the land’s resources to create warm clothing and footwear whose artistry depicts their cultural diversity. Without skin boots, survival would be impossible, even today.
In this lavishly illustrated and definitive reference book, Jill Oaks shares the boot making skills taught to her by expert seamstresses. Inuit women use boots as a medium to pass on traditional knowledge, display group affiliation and communicate pride in their skills. Inuit hunters provided Rick Riewe with information about traveling on the land, hunting wildlife and preparing skins for footwear. They also taught him the importance of skin footwear for arctic journeys throughout the year. Intimate, sometimes humorous insights into arctic life are recounted by Inuit men and women. Many of the authors’ research trips were funded by the Bata Shoe Museum Foundation.
After a brief overview of Canadian Inuit prehistory and history, the book examines the relationship between the arctic environment, Inuit culture and footwear. Then the authors describe the tools, techniques and construction procedures used to create numerous boot styles across the Canadian Arctic.
Over 100 full color and 50 black and white photos display boots as an art form, the arctic landscape and wildlife, and women engaged in the boot making process. In addition, there are 33 line drawings of techniques and 9 maps.